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The Recession Proof Musician: Week 2 ~ MONEY

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As we begin Week 2 of the “Recession Proof Musician” series, I have to warn you that we’ll be talking about MONEY!!!

Next week’s blogs will feature articles about how your access to money affects your music career. We’ll be discussing how your beliefs about money affect your music career, as well as sharing ways for you to make money with your music.

In other news, two of my music biz “cyber colleagues” are also providing “Recession Proof Musician” guides: Bob Baker, the original “Guerrilla Music Marketer” is releasing a free report, How to Recession Proof Your Music Career while Ariel Hyatt from Ariel Publicity has just completed her newest ebook, which is titled The Recession Proof Musician. I’ll be providing more info for both reports later this month.

The economy is on everyone’s minds, but resources for musicians abound!

Book Review: How to Design a Winning & Profitable Music Business by Kavit Haria

Posted in A Day in the Life, DIY Diva, Music Blogosphere | 1 Comment »

Today, September 9th, 2008, is the release date of Kavit Haria’s FREE eBook, How to Design a Winning & Profitable Music Business. After enjoying “The Strategy Guide to Succeeding As A Musician in 2008”, I looked forward to Kavit’s next publication, which did not disappoint.

HariaStrategy001.jpg

Where Kavit’s “Strategy Guide” went into the nitty gritty of music marketing tactics, “How to Design a Winning & Profitable Music Business” uses more broad strokes to inspire the reader to create their own vision. Just as each musician has his or her own motivations for pursuing music, Haria understands that individual musicians will have different marketing goals, and his book offers a starting point for creativity. A la Seth Godin, the ideas presented in “How to Design a Winning & Profitable Music Business” are designed to make musicians think. If you ask me, that’s always a good thing 😉

In this eBook, Kavit Haria encourages musicians to see themselves as music business owners – entrepreneurs in charge of their own music business strategy. From building a business framework to creating a fanbase, Haria offers solid ideas for independent musicians, and I highly recommend “How to Design a Winning & Profitable Music Business”.

Get your free copy of “How to Design a Winning & Profitable Music Business” at Inner Rhythm

Thirty Day Challenge New York City Meetup Photos

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Thirty Day Challenge participants in NYC had a meetup on August 27th at Stitch & Grill.

Stitch NYC Bar & Lounge
Stitch NYC

In addition to meeting other tri-state area 30 Day Challengers, we got to meet Ed Dale himself. In true rock star fashion, he was on a mini meetup tour, hitting LA/San Diego, Atlanta, New York City, and Manchester, England. But for this night, he was living it up in The Big Apple:

Ed Dale & Me
Ed Dale & Carla Lynne Hall

Ed Dale & Andy
Ed Dale & Andy

Yaro, Rene, & Frances at 30 Day Challenge NYC Meetup
Yaro (from Entrepreneur’s Journey), Rene, and Frances

Australian blogger Yaro was also in NYC this week, so he met up with Ed Dale and our group as well.

Ed Dale & Amy Havekost
Ed Dale & Amy Havekost

Taryn & Nicole at 30 Day Challenge NYC Meetup
Taryn & Nicole

If you’d like to see more photos, visit my Flickr page for more photos from the Thirty Day Challenge 2008 New York City Meetup.

It was a great night, and I look forward to future NYC meetups for the 30 Day Challenge!

Related Link: Yaro Starak, Ed Dale, and a Rockstar Walk Into a Bar

Book Your Own Gig: Have a House Concert

Posted in A Day in the Life, DIY Diva, Future Legends, Indie Music, Music Blogosphere | 2 Comments »

Performing often is important to keep your stage chops in good form, but some artists are unable to do shows as often as they would like. In some cases, there might not be enough venues in town that showcase your style of music, such as hip-hop or bluegrass. Or perhaps you’re under 21, and are too young to perform in places that serve alcohol. Or perhaps you need to build a larger audience before you can get a club gig. If you fall into any of these categories, there are still ways to get yourself out there: have a house concert.

What’s a house concert? Basically, it’s a performance that you give in someone’s home. I’ve done a couple of house concerts myself, and I’ve found them to be a lot of fun. The host (you or another music lover) chooses a date, and invites friends over to hear you play. The friends pay for entry (or at least donate to a tip jar if you feel weird about that), and they have the option to buy your CDs and join your mailing list. Great, huh?

House concert audiences are fantastic because they’re there to actually listen to your music. An intimate listening room vibe is created, and there’s often a lot of love in the room, which we performers need 😉 People sitting on couches, the floor, or at a picnic are relaxed and receptive. They also have the opportunity to really hear your lyrics, as well as experience your personality. Afterwards, the event becomes a party where you can connect with your listeners for as long as you want. That’s my kind of gig!

I was reminded about house concerts when I came across an awesome article about house concerts by Madalyn Sklar. Madalyn is the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians (“cuz chicks rock!”). Among other things, Madalyn is a music business coach & consultant and blogs at Madalyn’s Music Biz Blog, which is where I found inspiration for today’s blog post.

Additional inspiration came from a video from a teenage singer named Sara Niemietz, who started a “Living Room” series of performances on YouTube. She sounds great in a living room, and I’m sure that her voice will sound awesome in a club. But for now, she’s winning worldwide fans from her home. Below is a clip from one of her house concerts (notice audience members sitting on the staircase!).

One of my favorite parts of this video is at the end when a family member says to the camera: “The Living Room Series is getting bigger! Now there are people in the living room!”


Sara Niemietz – People Get Ready – LIVE @ The Living Room

For even more info on House Concerts, you can also check out
The Complete Guide to House Concerts by Nyree Belleville

How Can Musicians Benefit From Twitter?

Posted in A Day in the Life, DIY Diva, Indie Music | 2 Comments »

twitter page

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Twitter? This micro-blogging sensation enables you have multiple conversations with people in 140 character spurts. By keeping your “tweets” focused, you can communicate with lots of people.

For musicians, this tool gives you the opportunity not just to meet people, but to find and make new fans. To not only tell people about your new CD, but send them your iTunes links.

Wired.com’s recent rant about celebrity musicians wasting their Twitter opportunity was interesting because it made the point that famous people often have someone else twittering for them, whether it’s a publicist, assistant, or fan.

Whether you’re using Twitter, Myspace, or your own website, your fans want to get to know YOU. Says Wired.com’s Scott Thill:

“If I wanted to know where a band was every minute of the day, Twitter would be worth more than oil, or at least natural gas. But for anything other than product placement, tour updates or other release-related urgings, Twitter is totally useless when it comes to music.”

Perhaps Scott has a point, but I’ve noticed a few indie musicians on Twitter using it to keep their friends and fans in the loop. Here are some sample tweets from the New Jersey band Thursday (@thursdayband on Twitter):

http://twitpic.com/7kpj – Already tracked keeper drums and bass for the first song.. Tim used a jazz bass and it sounds way more aggressive.

A crazy day. Bass and drums done for three. Guitar and keyboards on another. Tonight we kick back and listen to The Gutter Twins.

Leaving for Fredonia New York in 12 hours to start recording the next record. So excited.

These kind of “tweets” are great because they let casual followers know what’s going on with Thursday without getting hit over the head. I haven’t even heard one guitar lick yet from this band, but still I want to know what they’re doing!

So run, don’t walk, and sign up for a Twitter account. And when you tweet your posts, give your fans what they want. YOU!

Thirty Day Challenge for Musicians: Finding Your SEO Keyword Niche Part 2

Posted in A Day in the Life, Articles, DIY Diva, Indie Music | 6 Comments »

Thirty Day Challenge for Musicians: Finding Your SEO Keyword Niche Part 2
by Carla Lynne Hall

In Part 1 of “Thirty Day Challenge for Musicians: Finding Your SEO Keyword Niche”, we learned about a bluegrass musician from South Carolina participating in the Thirty Day Challenge. During the Thirty Day Challenge TV Show on Day 12, “Mr. Bluegrass” (as I’ll call him here) asked Ed Dale if he could try the niche “bluegrass south carolina”. Ed thought it was fine, but a few enterprising Challengers in the internet TV show’s found the search numbers too low. So what does Mr. Bluegrass do now?

After last night’s internet show ended, I immediately started a case study to find a way for Mr. Bluegrass to get better search numbers. In addition, I worked out a SEO strategy that can be used by musicians and other creative types. This strategy will be featured in a future article here (or maybe even a video if I’m really cooking!), but for now, I just want to send a helpful lifeline to a fellow musician in South Carolina.

For the sake of simplicity, and future visitors to this blog post, I am using Google search numbers for my research. If you’re a lucky participant of the Thirty Day Challenge, the Market Samurai research tool will provide even more results.

First, let’s start with Mr. Bluegrass’ original choice of niche: “bluegrass south carolina”

Remember, according to the Thirty Day Challenge guidelines, a keyword can be a market when it gets 2400-3000 searches per month, and has less than 30,000 competing webpages.

If you do the Google search first, you’ll see that there are only six competing pages on the exact phrase. Having only six competing pages sounds great, right? But then I went to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and found that there were an average of 390 searches on Google per month. While 390 searches a month on “bluegrass south carolina” is good, a keyword with 2400-3000 searches a month would be better. How do we find a compatible keyword niche for Mr. Bluegrass?

For today’s strategy, I simply entered a musical category for my Google search, and drilled my way down til I found possibly compatible sub-niches. While “bluegrass music” gets 60,500 Google searches each month, which is too large for our purposes, there are attractive sub-niches. I have listed my favorite bluegrass sub-niches below (along with suggestions):

“bluegrass gospel music”
3600 average monthly searches/816 competing websites

If Mr. Bluegrass plays in a bluegrass gospel band, that would be perfect, as he can blog about his band and others ’til the cows come home. Otherwise, he could just start a blog on his favorite bluegrass gospel bands.

“country bluegrass music”
2400 average monthly searches/ 899 competing websites

This is a good generic sounding keyword that can be used. Remember, it doesn’t matter that you or I may never refer to bluegrass music as “country bluegrass music”. What’s important is that a large group of people are using that term in search engines each month, so it’s valid.

“bluegrass music festivals”
1600 average monthly searches/816 competing websites

Since Mr. Bluegrass would be interested in this topic anyway, he could start a blog about bluegrass festivals around the US, being sure to also include stories about his own band, and their experiences.

“Bill Monroe music”
1600 average monthly searches/13,500 competing websites

Bill Monroe is a famous bluegrass musician, and bluegrass fans would enjoy visiting a tribute blog.

Interestingly enough, “bluegrass north carolina” also came up in this search:
1900 average monthly searches/1520 competing websites

According to these numbers, people think more about North Carolina when they think of bluegrass music. Perhaps Mr. Bluegrass could create a North Carolina vs South Carolina bluegrass blog: Who can fiddle the fastest? Whose band has been around longer?

Using the Thirty Day Challenge guidelines, Mr. Bluegrass can add two of the larger keyword niches to his original choice, and be on his way to dominating the online bluegrass world!

Thirty Day Challenge for Musicians: Finding Your SEO Keyword Niche Part 1

Posted in A Day in the Life, Articles, DIY Diva, Indie Music | 3 Comments »

Thirty Day Challenge for Musicians: Finding Your SEO Keyword Niche Part 1
by Carla Lynne Hall

key approaching lock

For the Thirty Day Challenge, many musicians and other creative types may have a bit of difficulty finding a niche for themselves. During last night’s Thirty Day Challenge TV Show (Day 12) with Ed Dale, a guy asked if he could try the niche of “bluegrass in south carolina”. Ed, being a musician and passionate vintage electric guitar collector himself, loved the idea. While looking up this musician’s niche, I found the search numbers for “bluegrass in south carolina” too low for my taste. So what’s a bluegrass musician in South Carolina to do?

Since last night’s show, I’ve been spinning ideas in my head to find a related niche for Mr. Bluegrass. By the time I went to bed last night, I came up with a strategy that can be used for musicians, artisans, and other creative types.

What’s the big deal, you ask? In the past, when Ed Dale or any other internet marketing person talked about finding a niche, I would scratch my head. I mean, as a performer that promotes myself anyway, I already have a niche: ME, also known as “Carla Lynne Hall”. As far as I’m concerned, “Carla Lynne Hall” is a damn good niche. My musical style has been described as “Norah Jones meets Sade for tea on their way to visit The Beatles”, so what’s not to like about that niche, right?

But alas {insert deep and heavy sigh here}, in the search engine world, there are not enough people searching for “Carla Lynne Hall” to consider my name as a keyword niche market yet. According to the Thirty Day Challenge guidelines, we should choose a keyword that receives 2400-3000 searches a month. In other words, we need to choose a keyword phrase that receives 2400-3000 searches within a month’s time. If “Carla Lynne Hall” only gets 50 searches a month in Google (which I’m quite grateful for, by the way!), does that mean that I should give up music and pursue “mosaic crafts”?

Heck no! This just means that musicians and other creative types need to be strategic when participating in the Thirty Day Challenge. In addition to being the world’s expert on YOU, dominating a niche related to your art/music is another great way to bring traffic to your site.

More importantly, by becoming an expert in a related market, you’ll attract new fans. To use myself again as an example, I’m known for my music, and also for my indie music marketing tips. People interested in either topic sign up for my Soulflower Newsletter, my fan list grows.

And growing your fan list is a HUGE piece of the puzzle!

Next Post: Thirty Day Challenge for Musicians – The Case Study

Become a Better Musician with Deliberate Practice

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Dog practicing his music lesson

“They Laughed When I Said I Could Play the Piano. But When I Started to Play…”

From the Frontal Cortex blog:

“Virtually every psychological study that investigates expert “performers” – from chess grandmasters to concert pianists to brain surgeons – concludes that what separates these individuals from their peers is the amount of “deliberate practice” they are willing to endure. If there is an innate difference between Yo Yo Ma and a mediocre cellist, or between Tiger Woods and your golfing uncle, it is a willingness to practice, and not an innate aptitude for the cello or the 9 iron.”

Read more of this article here.

Pianist Artur Rubenstein has said “If I don’t practice one day, I notice it. If I don’t practice two days, my critics notice it. If I don’t practice for a week, my audience knows it.”

See? Practice really does make perfect!

Digital Media Is The New Hip Hop – Quincy “QD3″ Jones III

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Quincy “QD3” Jones (son of musician/producer Quincy Jones)

I love the blogosphere, can I tell you? I just found a great article about digital media is the future from musician/producer Quincy Jones’ son, Quincy “QD3” Jones. Wow.

In QD3’s blog, he writes: “I can see artists figuring out a way to go direct to consumer, creating sites and virtual worlds where they can present their undiluted vision to their audience (with user input of course). Upon building a nice-sized audience, they may possibly have their albums and videos underwritten by brands that feel their products are aligned with the creative direction of the artists.

Instead of pre-packaged albums, perhaps the artists upload songs, videos, and taped live shows periodically on their site as they finish them, and you, the consumer, can create your own track listing. Imagine your favorite group periodically releasing songs, using your input in part to make creative decisions, and thus having a more personal relationship with their fans. That could be pretty cool.”

That is poetry! Read the rest of his post from his QD3 Blog here:

New iProng Magazine Features Interview with Carla Lynne Hall

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The summer 2008 edition of iProng Magazine is out today, and features an article with yours truly! iProng is an online magazine for iPod and iPhone users, and is available via iTunes.

Click to read the latest issue of iProng Magazine here.

CLH and Bill Palmer
Me and iProng Magazine publisher, Bill Palmer